Nutrition Policy Institute
Nutrition Policy Institute
Nutrition Policy Institute
University of California
Nutrition Policy Institute
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March 23, 2017

New infographic for WIC Infant and Toddler Feeding Practices Study 2

The USDA’s WIC Infant and Toddler Feeding Practices Study 2 (WICITFPS-2): Infant Year Report, published in January 2017, now has a helpful infographic created by Westat that provides a summary of the report. NPI Director Lorrene Ritchie was one of the co-authors of the study, and NPI researcher Lauren Au supported background and literature searches for the study, which showed a dramatic increase over time in WIC’s influence in promoting healthy feeding practices for babies.


March 6–9, 2017

Nutrition Policy Institute goes to Washington

On March 6–9, a UC ANR delegation, including Nutrition Policy Institute Director Lorrene Ritchie, attended the 35th Annual Council on Agriculture Research, Extension and Teaching (CARET) meetings in Washington D.C. CARET is part of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities (APLU). The UC ANR delegation also visited members of Congress to explain the importance of science and research to California.


March 3, 2017

Lauren Au to present keynote at California Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 2017 Public Policy Workshop

On Monday, March 6, 2017, Nutrition Policy Institute researcher Lauren Au PhD, RD  gives the keynote presentation at the California Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ 2017 Public Policy Workshop in Sacramento, California. Au’s keynote, “Building Effective Relationships with Legislators,” draws on her experience on legislative public policy committees and a Farm Bill workgroup, as well as her experience as a Congressional fellow. Key takeaways from Au’s talk will be the benefits of maintaining meaningful relationships with legislators and staff, and proven strategies for successfully communicating with legislators and staff.  


February 16, 2017

Lorrene Ritchie part of expert panel providing evidence-based guidelines for infant and toddler feeding

To address the lack of guidelines for infant and toddler feeding practices in the United States, Healthy Eating Research (HER), a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, convened an expert panel, including Nutrition Policy Institute’s Lorrene Ritchie, to review the evidence that has emerged over the past two decades for promoting healthy nutrition and feeding patterns for infants and toddlers (ages 2 or younger). The panel’s resulting report, Best Practices for Promoting Healthy Nutrition, Feeding Patterns, and Weight Status for Infants and Toddlers from Birth to 24 Months has just been published. The evidence-based guidelines produced by the expert panel provide the most comprehensive and pragmatic approach to date for communicating to caregivers what and how best to feed infants and toddlers, while also taking into account the rapidly changing developmental stages during the first two years of life. The guidelines can be used by parents and caregivers in the home or child-care settings, and by health care providers and staff from programs such as WIC to give proper infant and toddler feeding advice to parents and caregivers. A webinar featuring panel members and Healthy Eating Research staff will be held on March 7 to discuss the guidelines; register in advance for the webinar.


February 10, 2017

New NPI study shows effectiveness of both online and in-person nutrition education 

A new Nutrition Policy Institute study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics concludes that, among participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (known as WIC), both online and in-person education resulted in improvements in knowledge and behaviors associated with reducing salt intake. Furthermore, the study notes that offering an online education option for WIC participants could broaden the reach of nutrition education and lead to long-term positive dietary changes. The study is the third that NPI has conducted among a specific population of WIC participants. The previous studies examined breakfast-eating behaviors and satisfaction with online and traditional in-person nutrition education.  


February 9, 2017

Lorrene Ritchie and Wendi Gosliner discuss healthy, sustainable improvements to school lunch

Nutrition Policy Institute Director Lorrene Ritchie and Project Scientist Wendi Gosliner were quoted in a recent article on how California is reinventing school lunch. Ritchie, who, with UC Berkeley colleague Kris Madsen, is evaluating the effectiveness of a San Francisco Unified School District pilot program to make school dining more enjoyable, noted how the dining experience has improved. “It’s set up to be more friendly to students, like at a restaurant,” said Ritchie, who also noted that the nutritional quality of school meals is often better than meals brought from home. Gosliner recounted how the ongoing federal commitment to a National School Lunch Program started in 1946, primarily due to the success of school meals as a way to provide the agricultural sector a market for its surplus food. Now it’s part of a national dialogue about how the nation eats.


January 31, 2017

Nutrition Education Summit to tackle food waste

As Nutrition Policy Institute’s Project Scientist Wendi Gosliner notes in a recent UC Food Observer blog post, up to 40 percent of food produced in the United States is wasted. How can we tackle this critical issue? On February 3, 2017, Gosliner and other leaders from California’s public health and nutrition education programs (including WIC, the National School Lunch Program, SNAP-Ed and UC Cooperative Extension) will meet in Sacramento to brainstorm new strategies to help Californians reduce food waste through consumer messaging as well as proposed policy and system changes. Many states are exploring ways to reduce food waste, but California is emerging as a leader. Reducing food waste presents a win-win opportunity in California, where innovative state mandates are in place to address climate change. 


January 30, 2017

Christina Hecht contributes guest blog post describing the National Drinking Water Alliance

Nutrition Policy Institute’s Senior Policy Advisor Christina Hecht contributed a piece describing the National Drinking Water Alliance (NDWA) to the UC Food Observer’s guest blog. NDWA is a national coalition of nonprofits, academic institutions, advocates and individuals, and works to ensure that all children are able to readily access safe drinking water in the places where they live, learn and play. NDWA’s website serves as a “clearinghouse” for information about drinking water. It contains literally hundreds of useful tools, research studies, fact sheets, promotional materials, policy papers and the latest news from the field.


January 12, 2017

USDA study finds improved feeding practices among WIC participants

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) was established to safeguard the health of low-income pregnant women and infants who are at nutritional risk. The WIC Infant and Toddler Feeding Practices Study–2 (WIC ITFPS-2) “Feeding My Baby” captures data on WIC caregivers and their children over the first five years of each child’s life to address a series of research questions regarding feeding practices, the effect of WIC services on those practices, and the health and nutrition outcomes of children on WIC. This new study assesses changes in behaviors and trends that may have occurred over the past 20 years by comparing the findings to the first WIC Infant Feeding Practices Study–1 (WIC IFPS-1), the last major study of the diets of infants on WIC. Just released, the new study found that, due to WIC, mothers made positive changes in how they feed themselves and their families, knowing how to choose more healthy foods, breastfeeding at a higher rate and eating more fruits and vegetables. NPI Director Lorrene Ritchie is one of the co-authors of the new study, and NPI researcher Lauren Au supported background and literature searches for the study.


January 11, 2017

Video of Dr. Lorrene Ritchie and Dr. Pat Crawford discussing childhood obesity policies at COAST SSEW

In an informative presentation from the 2016 Center for Obesity Assessment, Study and Treatment (COAST) Sugar, Stress, Environment and Weight (SSEW) Initiative Symposium, Dr. Lorrene Ritchie and Dr. Pat Crawford discuss the scientific methods the Nutrition Policy Institute (NPI) uses to help turn research into policy. “Good science is needed to inform good nutrition policy,” states Ritchie during the presentation, and she and Crawford provide examples of research-influenced nutrition policies that have helped reduce the epidemic of childhood obesity. By combining quantitative research with qualitative research, and by engaging stakeholders and partners in collaborating on solutions, NPI helped bring groundbreaking nutrition policies such as the Pupil Nutrition, Health and Achievement Act of 2001 and the Healthy Beverages in Child Care Act (effective January 1, 2012) to fruition.


January 9, 2017

Michelle Obama's inspiring legacy: Top 10 Let's Move! moments

A recent blog post highlights First Lady Michelle Obama's important work with the Let's Move! initiative to help raise a healthier generation of kids and families. Mrs. Obama's leadership in raising public awareness of the epidemic of childhood obesity and implementing strategies that prevent obesity and improve health has had a powerful impact.


December 22, 2016

Dr. Lorrene Ritchie quoted in Huffington Post article

In a Huffington Post article by Joseph Erbentraut on efforts by conservative lawmakers in the House Freedom Caucus to do away with the school lunch program, Dr. Lorrene Ritchie, director of the Nutrition Policy Institute, was quoted about the benefits of the program. "If we want to improve child nutrition, there is no better way I know of that will impact so many children," she said about the school lunch program. "Repealing this seems to me to make no sense." The article went on to mention a study Ritchie helped author that was published in the November 2016 issue of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The study found that meals served in the school lunch program were of a higher nutritional quality than meals brought from home.


December 13, 2016

Dr. Lorrene Ritchie discusses food insecurity on Farm To Table Talk podcast 

One out of every 7 households in the US is food insecure. Over half of our infants receive some type of federal food support (WIC). Beyond "farm to table," what happens when a nation's students are unable to get the nutrition they need? On the Farm To Table Talk podcast, Dr. Lorrene Ritchie, director of the Nutrition Policy Institute, sizes up the issue, explains the research findings and suggests a way forward where everyone can help.


December 5, 2016

Nutrition Policy Institute study highlights benefits of school lunch 

Lunches served in the National School Lunch Program have higher nutritional quality than lunches brought from home, according to the largest comparison study conducted to date. Published in the November 2016 issue of the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dieteticsthe study, conducted by researchers at UC's Nutrition Policy Institute, involved nearly 4,000 elementary school students in Southern California.


October 20, 2016

The long-lasting impacts of using research to inform nutrition policies 

In a video profile created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation, NPI researcher Lauren Au observes the long-lasting impacts of using research to inform nutrition policies. Au notes that by encouraging access to healthy foods and healthy drinking options, and by promoting changes in behavior to improve health and well-being, nutrition policy initiatives can help reduce food insecurity, obesity and diabetes in the U.S. and also serve as a model for other countries around the world. 



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